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Archive for May, 2019

Inside the Book:

 

Title: A Water Lily Blooms
Author: Sylvia S. Mader
Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com
Genre: Coming of Age
Format: Ecopy /Paperback
An attractive young woman lies critically injured and comatose in a hospital bed far from home. Images come and go as she struggles to regain consciousness. Is that a tall, dark man beckoning her from a distance? Will she reach him? Or will her life be cut short, denying her a second chance for happiness? How did she get from being a happy, promising young pre-med student to here? And like this?
This coming of age tale follows the struggles of a driven but naive high school graduate. Andrea Bradford leaves her peaceful Martha’s Vineyard home for college, wanting to be a physician — a true professional, just like so many boys in her class. But once at college, she begins suffering the anxieties of homesickness, a blistering schedule, constant disagreements with her mother, and the uncertainty of a possible stage career. Meanwhile, several romances awaken her pent-up sexuality and introduce her to inter-racial realities and even the lure of New York high society.
Episodes of confusion, disappointment, elation, tragedy, and reconciliation all shape Andie, as she grows to become a mature, competent woman by the end of this truly “American” story.

 

  PURCHASE HERE

MEET THE AUTHOR

Sylvia Mader is the author of “Inquiry Into Life, 16th edition;” “Biology, 13th edition” and “Human Biology, 16th edition,” making her one of America’s most successful college textbook authors of the last twenty-five years. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, who taught community college students and wrote most of her textbooks while raising two beautiful children. She lived on Martha’s Vineyard for nearly twenty years, and is now a grandmother, living in Hollywood, Florida. This is her debut novel. She is currently working on a second one.

Tour Schedule

Monday, May 6

Book featured at Literal Exposure

Tuesday, May 7

Book featured at A Title Wave

Wednesday, May 8

Book featured at The Dark Phantom

Thursday, May 9

Book featured at The Zen Reader

Friday, May 10

Book featured at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

Monday, May 13

Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge

Tuesday, May 14

Guest blogging at I’m Shelf-ish

Wednesday, May 15

Interviewed at Review From Here

Thursday, May 16

Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures

Friday, May 17

Guest blogging at The Writer’s Life

Monday, May 20

Book reviewed at Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm

Tuesday, May 21

Interviewed at Straight From the Author’s Mouth

Wednesday, May 22

Book featured at Lisa Queen of Random

Thursday, May 23

Interviewed at The Literary Nook

Friday, May 24

Guest blogging at Harmonious Publicity

Monday, May 27

Interviewed at Inkslinger’s Opus

Tuesday, May 28

Guest blogging at As the Page Turns

Wednesday, May 29

Book featured at Voodoo Princess

Thursday, May 30

Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight

Friday, May 31

Book featured at From Paperback to Leatherbound

 

 

 

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Title: The Prison Planet Handbook
Author: Denis Goodwin
Publisher: XLibris
Genre: Reference
Format: Ebook

 

 

Who are we, and where did we come from? When we turn to the information provided to us, we find a mud pool of possibilities. Is this intended to subvert our built-in guidance systems? We also discover that people who are adept at researching big-picture science are offered special jobs conditional on being sworn to secrecy. What is behind this strategy? Sometimes, the reality prescribed to us doesn’t fit with or explain what we experience. So if you too know something is not quite right, wonder what else is out there, what the bigger picture is, who benefits with us excluded from it, and are ready for changes on earth, the bottom line is here.

PURCHASE HERE

GIVEAWAY

DENIS IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins May 20 and ends on May 31.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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David Reiss

“A swarm of medical automatons surrounded the gurney on which I was reclined, a humming and swirling dervish of blades, clamps, sponges and other surgical tools focused upon the stump of my shoulder. A surgical laser was carefully burning away flesh in a pattern that would increase the efficiency of repairs performed by the medical nanites once my right arm was reattached…”

–From FID’S CRUSADE by David Reiss

While growing up, David Reiss was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller and dreamer.

Fortunately, he hasn’t changed much.

David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-six years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.

(Farewell, little huntress. You were loved. You are missed.)

David’s first book, Fid’s Crusade, has just recently been published; this was his first novel-length project, but it certainly won’t be his last—he’s having far too much fun!

Book Description

Fid's Crusade

Consumed by grief, rage, and self-loathing, a brilliant inventor rebuilt himself to take on a new identity: the powered-armor-wearing supervillain, Doctor Fid. For twenty violent years, Fid has continued his quest to punish heroes who he considers to be unworthy of their accolades, and the Doctor has left a long trail of blood and misery in his wake. After a personal tragedy, however, Doctor Fid investigates a crime and uncovers a conspiracy so terrible that even he is taken aback.

Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must risk everything to save the world that he once sought to terrorize. Every battle takes its toll…but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.

In the end, it may take a villain to save the entire Earth from those entrusted with the Earth’s protection.

Interview:

Welcome, David! Your new book, Fid’s Crusade, sounds out of this world, literally! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea to write your book?

Superheroes are everywhere these days and (as a long-time comic book geek) I’ve been thrilled to see some of my childhood’s favorite characters being brought to the big screen. One thing that I’ve noticed, however, is that in many of these stories…the action really starts with the villain. A bad guy robs a bank or tries to take over the city, and the heroes step up and risk their lives to save the day. There are definitely powerful stories to be told within that framework, but (in general) the protagonists are reactive. So…I suppose that my inspiration was to approach a very well-known and popular genre from an oblique angle, and to really focus in on the place where the majority of conflict originates: behind the villain’s mask.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters?

The protagonist is a brilliant powered-armor-wielding supervillain who goes by the name of Doctor Fid, but the truth is that the story is less about his strength and more about his moral and emotional evolution. He’s a character driven by grief and rage, and he’s spent twenty years trying to punish the heroes who he feels to be unworthy of the public’s trust. He’s a man who has gloried in violence and destruction, and yet, he’s also a socially awkward, desperately lonely figure who’s sacrificed everything for a cause that stopped being relevant years earlier. He’s tragic and flawed and dangerous…and terribly human. There are plenty of opportunities for the kind of action that is expected from a story about superheroes and supervillains, but the novel also explores themes of growth and empathy, of confronting the demons of one’s past and of trying to find a new path forward.

The cast includes a number of other characters, some of whom have succumbed to allow themselves be defined by their failings and others who choose to struggle against them. There are pacifistic villains and others who are monstrous, and heroes with a similar range of traits. Also, a young artificially-sentient android girl who is intelligent enough to near-instantaneously digest every word that has ever been published online about the subject of swimming, but still doggy-paddles because she’s afraid to get water in her eyes.

Everyone is human underneath their costumes. Even the robots.

Where was your book set and why did you choose that particular region/location?

Doctor Fid travels a fair bit but he makes his home in Boston. When I started writing, I chose the region out convenience—the main character had been an academic prior to embarking on his villainous career and M.I.T. was an obvious choice for his alma mater, the city is close enough to Manhattan that he could visit NYC regularly but remote enough that there would be a different cast of local heroes and villains, and that the city is sufficiently cosmopolitan to act as a backdrop for a wide range of competing cultures and influences.

Even though I’d visited Boston several times in the past—I had friends who attended college there, and my brother had lived there for a while—I needed to do a fair bit of research on the city (and surrounding regions) as the novel coalesced. I’ve come to love the city from a distance and hope to travel out there soon to explore some of the sites that I’ve experienced only in prose.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?

There’s a sequence in which Doctor Fid travels across country to explore a deceased villain’s hidden lair. His original intent was to acquire lost technology, but that plan is derailed when he encounters a new character who will eventually have an immense impact upon his life. To me, that scene is one of the most pivotal moments in the protagonist’s journey; it has what I hope are touching moments but also provides hints at big changes and significant challenges that will need to be overcome.

Do you believe because you spent a lot of time reading when you were younger, that that was one influence that played a part in who you are today?

Being a voracious reader had a tremendous influence on my life, so much so that it’s difficult to imagine who I would be if not for the stories I immersed myself within.

If I’ve found love and happiness and friendship and trust, it’s because I experienced these things first within the pages of books and knew what to look for when those opportunities arose in real life.

What was it like growing up? Can you tell us a little bit about your background/family?

This is a tough one to answer because my family was wonderful. I’ve been loved and supported for my entire life.

And yet…I was an angry, bitter, and horrifically depressed child.

I was the strange kid who didn’t fit in, the weird one who never knew the right thing to say or how to say it, small enough to be every bully’s favorite target and lonely enough that I had no one to go to. I didn’t understand my peers, they didn’t understand me…and I was intelligent enough to be painfully aware of how isolated I’d become.

Fiction was my escape and I spent every moment I could with my nose in a book.

It took a long time and tens of thousands of pages, but I truly believe that it was within fantasy that I found my way back to reality. Through reading about the thoughts and experiences of so many fictional characters, I learned how to understand and interact with the people who I’d never been able to connect with in person.

It can get better. I promise.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?

I want all of my readers and fans to know how incredibly grateful I am for their support. Publishing Fid’s Crusade and its sequels has been a remarkable journey and I’m looking forward to sharing new stories in the future as well.

 

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“IF YOU’VE BEEN dieting forever with very mixed results, then you’ve finally come to the right place. These lifestyle changes that I am recommending will be like no diet that you have ever attempted, so if you combine what I’m about to teach you with the proven methods that Dr. Joel Fuhrman teaches you in his books—Eat to Live is the best one to start off with—you will be well on your way to attaining your goal of losing the dreaded weight that you have been desperately seeking to get rid of for so long.”

–From The ‘Real’ American Diet by Kevin C. Alston

Born & raised in the small town of Mullins, SC, by God-fearing parents who instilled religion into his life at an early age, Kevin C. Alston has an insatiable appetite for knowledge since birth. God blessed him with a keen, analytical mind, & an almost feverish desire to help others. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, married to the love of his life, with five wonderful kids, & a deep passion that still burns within him to help the less fortunate, through whatever means necessary.  The correlation between what we eat & the epidemic-like rise in diseases of today has the author on an impassioned mission to get to the bottom of what he thinks is a big conspiracy by our government & Big Business. His latest book is The ‘Real’ American Diet.

Book Description:

This book is a culmination of the author’s life, but mainly the past 10 years, where personal tragedies have led him to discover more about the correlation with food, nutrition & the diseases of today, & how it affects us all.

This program is an experiment of sorts, with the author using himself as the guinea pig, with positive results having been discovered, & hopefully, in time, even bigger positive results yet to come.

Between our government & Big Business, we, the people, are already involved in an experiment.  It’s like a big laboratory.  With all of the harmful toxins that are allowed in our air, food, &  water, diseases are at epidemic-like levels, & the author, for one, would like to know if there is more to this than is being told to us. It speaks volumes when other nations refuse to accept grains & meats from us, or at least it does to the author.

Most of the ailments we suffer from today emanate from our guts, & our poor diets keep the sickness-wheels turning, costing each of us millions of dollars, a whole lot of heartache, pain, & suffering.  It’s time to make a change, & that change started with the author’s experiment on himself.

Interview:

Welcome, Kevin!  Your new book, The ‘Real’ American Diet sounds like something we all could use today. Tell us what was the pivotal moment when you decided you should write about book that discusses the correlation with food, nutrition & the diseases of today and how it affects us all?

Kevin: Boy, can it be used today! After my mom died from cancer back in ’10, I thought about it. When my ‘other’ daughter passed, from cancer as well, I had had enough ( my ‘other’ daughter  is my oldest stepdaughter ). I actually saw my other daughter’s long struggle against, first, breast cancer, & then, liver cancer. It was not something any human being should have to experience.

You mention in your book that you have a ‘routine’ that you use every day. Can you tell us what that routine is?

Kevin: I start my day off the exact same way, no matter what time I actually get up ( crazy work schedule having a lot to do with it ). I start off with at least 40 ounces of water ( I’ve gone from tap water to alkaline water, probably about 4 years ago, I made the switch ) that I squeeze fresh lemon juice into, & I add probably almost a 1/2 capful of apple cider vinegar. Every day is begun that way, no exceptions.

Would you say you ate well or poorly as a child? Were you allowed sweets?

Kevin: No. I wouldn’t say that I ate poorly, but we did get our ‘bad’ things in. At the top of the list of the bad is probably the kids’ cereals that we all were bombarded with growing up. Those things are loaded with sugar! Is that really the way we want to start our days off, with a bowl of sugar? It’s no wonder diabetes is rampant. They’ve got us consuming more & more sugar. But, thank God my mom also taught us, me in particular, the importance of eating your green vegetables. The greener, the better. I try to have something green with every meal. The key word is ‘try’, but trust me, I will get it in that day, for sure, somehow

Where do you buy your vegetables and fruits? Is it important to stay out of the grocery stores and buy fresh?

Kevin: There’s a store called Nino Savaggio’s, which in essence is a Big vegetable/fruit market. They’ve got everything there, pretty much, but the fresh fruits & vegetables are the main draw, at least for me it is. I’m there quite often. I do still go to grocery stores, but not for my fruits & vegetables

How can your book help me with my diet?

Kevin: My book doesn’t try to get you to stop doing anything that you are already doing. It just focuses on starting your day out right, incorporating a few new, good habits into your life, & in doing this, it will entice you to make better decisions about what you ingest

What’s your view on soda? Is it okay to drink in moderation?

Kevin: My view on soda, we call it ‘pop’ up here. I haven’t had a pop since ’98. I just one day decided to stop drinking it, mainly because I knew it was mostly sugar, & since I didn’t really drink a lot of them, it would be much easier to quit, & I did, cold turkey. Juices, in my opinion, are just as bad as pops, especially if it’s not fresh-squeezed.

What’s your most favorite vegetable and fruit?

Kevin: My most favorite vegetable & fruit. My favorite vegetable is probably steamed okra. The sliminess turns a lot of people off, but not me. As for fruit, watermelon & peaches are probably neck-n-neck, in my book. But there are a few others that come close for both fruits & vegetables. I’m not a picky eater, & I love all food.

In closing, do you have anything you’d like to tell your readers?

Kevin: If someone was slowly poisoning a friend or loved one, what would you do about it? That’s where I come in, because I have lots of friends & loved ones, & from the past sufferings of quite a few of them, I felt compelled to try & help the others, as well as myself, because we are all being slowly poisoned by the powers-that-be, all in the name of the almighty dollar. Our air, our food, our water. That’s why there are so many ailments today that seem to be in epidemic-like occurrences. We need to stop the mad scientists! The money isn’t in a cure. It’s in keeping us sick, to keep the prescriptions being written, to keep the money train chugging along, full speed. Good health is your greatest wealth!

 

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Title: Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1)
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 377
Genre: Thriller/Crime

BOOK BLURB:

He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever.

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late?

Compulsive and gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Katie Scott’s first case will have you on the edge of your seat and gasping with shock.

Readers love Jennifer Chase!

‘WHAT A FANTASTIC READ! OMG! I just finished reading this book! It was an absolute thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read!… I couldn’t believe who the serial killer was; I thought I knew but was surprised! I could not put it down… BRAVO JENNIFER!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘GREAT!!! Thoroughly enjoyed!!! Jennifer Chase has become one of my favorite crime thriller authors. She totally captures you from beginning to end!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Fantastic read! The author kept me hooked from the first page till the last. I truly thought I knew the serial killer… Boy was I wrong. This is a fantastic read, it kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire time. Well done!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow!… Such a gripping tale… I couldn’t stop reading and found myself daydreaming about it while I was supposed to be working… A gripping thriller with multiple twists and turns. A must read!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Great book. I really liked it! Would like reading more of her books! This book keeps you involved and unable to put it down!! Great!!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Action-packed… An adrenaline-packed book from start to finish. ’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow… This book will take you for a ride. Have you soaked right in till the end! Absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read another from this author!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘This is one of the best books I have read in a while.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘From beginning to end this is a non-stop thriller.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Real page turner. I read this book in two hours. I could not put it down. I never guessed who the killer was until he was revealed. Mind blowing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Captivating from beginning to the last page. A “who did it” crime mystery that keeps you guessing, and then changing your mind!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one. I could not put this book down. A real page turner full of suspense!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

http://tinyurl.com/y582nct2

Book Excerpt:

Prologue

The oversized tires obliterated the rural roadway before the large truck came to an abrupt stop. The driver stalled the engine. Dust rose in a curious flowering cloud, swirling in front of the vehicle’s hood and creeping toward the back of the camper shell. When the surrounding vicinity finally cleared, a dense forest landscape emerged.

The truck overlooked the sheer cliff and rugged scenery that had become a permanent roadblock. The usual silence of the deserted region was interrupted by the incessant and rhythmic sound of a cooling engine.

Tick… Tick… Tick…

The vehicle remained parked. No one moved inside the cab or got out. The truck stayed immobile as if an unlikely statue in the vast wilderness—a distinct contrast between nature and manufactured steel.

The truck sat at the ideal vantage spot, which was both mesmerizing and terrifying for any spectator; but still the occupant chose to wait. The intense high beams pierced ahead into the picturesque hills, leaving a hazy view of the area above the massed trees.

When the driver’s door finally opened, a man stepped out, his steel-toed leather work boots hitting the dirt. They were well-worn, reflecting the many miles he had walked and the many hours he had labored. Swiftly the door shut as the man, medium build and wearing only a plain dark T-shirt, walked to the back of the truck and, with a loud bang, released the lift gate. He moved with purpose and with a calm assertiveness, as if he had performed this particular task many times before. His weathered hands, calloused from years of working with heavy tools and machinery without the protection of leather gloves, had a certain agility and speed.

He grasped two well-used shovels, a large arching pick, and a bulky utility garbage bag. As he tossed the bag onto the ground, the top burst open and several medium-sized teddy bears spilled out. Their smiling faces accentuated the brightly colored ribbons tied around their necks, contrasting with the muted shades of their surroundings.

The man pushed the floppy bag aside with the toe of his boot. He worked in quiet solitude, no humming, no whistling, and no talk.

He flipped on the flashlight fixed to his baseball cap. Straight ahead and slightly arced, the large beam illuminated his path while he strode steadily toward a particular wooded area.

The surrounding thickets and trees remained still without any wind to rustle the leaves. The only audible sound was the man’s quick footsteps—never with any hesitation. He walked with the gait of a young man, despite his stature of someone older.

He hesitated as if he had forgotten something, standing motionless with his arms down at his sides and his head hung forward as he shone the bright light at the ground and the tops of his boots. He still held firmly to the tools. He mumbled a few inaudible sentences of a memorized prayer, which sounded more like a warning than a passage from the Bible, then he raised his head and continued to walk into the dense forest.

Dropping his tools, he carefully pushed a pine branch aside and secured it with a worn piece of rope that had been left for the purpose. An opening was exposed—a tunnel barely large enough for a man to enter.

He grabbed his digging tools once again and proceeded. The flashlight on the front of his cap brightened the passageway as it veered to the right. He followed, only ducking his head twice before the path opened to an area with several boulders sticking out of the cliff. Clusters of unusual rock shapes, some sharp, some rounded, made the terrain appear more like a movie set or backdrop.

A narrow dirt path of crude, sloping man-made steps dropped fifteen feet to a landing jutting out from the rock formation. A small yellow flag was stuck into the earth, marking a spot. A slight evening breeze picked up, causing the flag to flutter.

The man balanced the shovels and pick against the hillside and pulled a hunting knife from a sheath attached to his belt. Pressing the bone handle tight against his palm, he drew the blade through the packed dirt to mark a rectangular pattern on the ground.

He stared intently at the soil, then retrieved the pick, gripping it tight, and swung it hard against the dry, heavily compacted earth. It dented the surface, spewing chips of dirt in every direction. A few small rocks buried in the soil since the beginning of time hampered his progress, but after several more arced swings, the ground began to crumble, exposing the fresh earth.

The heavy pick was exchanged for one of the shovels. Soon there was a small pile of California soil, comprised of sand, silt, clay, and small rock. The repeated movements of dig, scoop, and deposit continued for more than forty-five minutes at a brisk pace. The hard work of manual labor didn’t deter him. It only made him more determined to create a work of genius—his ultimate masterpiece.

At last he stepped back and admired his handiwork, perspiring heavily through his shirt from the effort. Exhilaration filled his body, keeping his muscles flexed and his heart pumping hard. He leaned against the shovel, a smile forming on his lips as he waited for his pulse to return to normal, and marveled at the unmistakable outline of a freshly dug grave.

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

Her latest book is the thriller, Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1).

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Dead Cold  Scene of the Crime

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

 

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Self-taught artist, writer and musician, Carol Es is known primarily for creating personal narratives within a wide spectrum of media. A native Los Angelina, she often uses past experience as fuel for her subject matter.  Writing on art, her articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Whitehot Magazine, and Coagula Art Journal; her prose published with small presses — Bottle of Smoke Press, Islands Fold, and Chance Press among them. Additionally, she makes handmade Artist’s books which have been acquired for such collections as the Getty and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Carol is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner, and a Wynn Newhouse Award for her art. She’s also earned grants from Asylum Arts and the National Arts and Disability Center/California Arts Council for writing. In 2019, she won the Bruce Geller Memorial Prize (WORD Grant) from the American Jewish University.

Website: www.ShrapnelInTheSanFernandoValley.com

Blog: www.esart.com/blog

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/esart

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolesart

BOOK BLURB:

Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is a guided tour through a Tilt-A-Whirl life that takes so many turns that you may find yourself looking up from the pages and wondering how the hell one person managed to fit them all into 40-odd years. And many of them are odd years indeed. From a rootless, abusive childhood and mental illness through serious and successful careers in music and art, much of which were achieved while being involved in a notoriously destructive mind-control cult. Carol Es presents her story straight up. No padding, no parachute, no dancing around the hard stuff. Through the darkness, she somehow finds a glimmer of light by looking the big bad wolf straight in the eye, and it is liberating. When you dare to deal with truth, you are free. Free to find the humor that is just underneath everything and the joy that comes with taking the bumpy ride.

Illustrated with original sketches throughout, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is not just another survivor’s tale, it’s a creative perspective through moments of vulnerability where the most raw and intimate revelations are laid bare. As an artist and a woman finding self-worth, it’s truly a courageous, relatable story that will keep you engaged to the very end.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

https://amzn.to/2uiryWN

Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130641373?ean=9781733520881

Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Not really. But I was born to try to write.

What was your inspiration for Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley?

I had a horrific, yet an absurd and darkly humorous life with significant injustices and felt they needed to be heard.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Mental illness, dark comedy, dysfunctional relationships, surrealism, and art.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

About nine years in total.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Very much. Obsessed really. While working on the book, a typical day was waking up around 4:30 am and stopping at 6 or 7 to have dinner.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Focusing on my true feelings in my past when I’d been disassociating to get through traumatic experiences.

What do you love most about being an author?

Being able to express myself visually in words.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

It was a long process of lots of rejections and finally starting my own indy. Then, lots of learning along the way. Yes, I’m happy with my decision because now it’s all within my control.

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Title: MOMENTS THAT MADE AMERICA: FROM THE ICE AGE TO THE ALAMO
Author: Geoff Armstrong
Publisher: History Publishing Company
Pages:
Genre: American History

BOOK BLURB:

From its geological birth during the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent millions of years ago, through the nation-shaping key events that led to its political independence from the British superpower, and other crucial, sometimes miraculous events that worked to create the nation, Moments That Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo explores those defining moments, both tragic and inspirational that profoundly shaped the nation and its people – crucial turning points that worked inexorably to mold and make America. These pivotal “tipping” events formed America’s geographical, sociological, political and historical landscape. Part 1 culminates with the discovery of gold in California and the role it played in fulfilling America’s dream of Manifest Destiny.

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CHAPTER ONE

IN THE BEGINNING

Birth of a Continent

            There is something totally appropriate about the fact that North America, the continent that would someday contain the United States, was born in a cataclysm so violent it ripped apart a gigantic supercontinent.

A little more than two hundred million years ago, the continent we know as North America did not exist. From space, our planet looked nothing like earth of the 21st century. At that distant time in our planet’s history, all the continents that exist today were joined together into one giant landmass scientists call “Pangaea”.

Then, on the 4th of July, 200,000,000 BCE (Before the Common Era) an immense earthquake hammered Pangaea. From the extreme northernmost point to the southern end, a deep fault in the earth split open and a huge chunk of Pangaea began to separate from the rest of the supercontinent. At first, the separation was only a few inches, but North America was born at that moment. A small piece of the scar from that cataclysm can be seen in a 20-mile line of cliffs called the Hudson River Palisades that run along the west side of the lower Hudson River near New York City.

The date is highly imaginary of course. With no humans around to invent calendars, we can’t possibly know the exact date North America was born, but that date fits perfectly.

Scientists believe that Pangaea broke apart because the solid surface we live on isn’t actually solid. It is made up of continent-sized plates that float upon what geophysicists call the “mantle”, a hot, molten rocky layer, about 1,800 miles thick that lies deep beneath our feet. The movement of these plates is called “plate tectonics” and the different conditions and effects they generate are responsible for earthquakes, volcanoes and the creation of mountains.

Slowly, very slowly, through long eons, moving just centimeters per year, the gap between the newborn continent and what was left of old Pangaea widened as America moved west, the gap filling with salt water from the great ocean that covered most of the planet. That gap eventually become a sea, then an ocean more than two thousand miles wide we call the Atlantic.

That slow journey continues to this day and will it do so for millennia. Someday, eons from now, people sitting on a beach near Seattle will be able to wave greetings to folks in China.

In some places, that hot mantle pushes its way through cracks or fault lines, where it can show up as volcanoes and other features such as hot springs, geysers, steam vents and lava flows. They are called “hot spots”. One well-known hot spot lying out in the Pacific Ocean is the State of Hawaii, a volcanic chain of islands almost 4,000 miles long. Another is America’s first national park, Yellowstone, a hot spot that has been around for about 15,000,000 years. The entire Yellowstone system has been described as a super volcano with the potential to erupt with enough force to destroy much of the United States and Canada and significantly damage the entire planet. It last erupted 640,000 years ago and geophysicists enjoy informing anyone who will listen that we are long overdue for another deadly eruption.

It is from that westward movement of the North American plate that the continent gets its unique physical appearance. Where the North American and Pacific Plates meet, the Pacific Plate can be forced down into the mantle under North America, where it pushes up against the North American Plate, slowly bending parts of the plate upward. If the plates actually collide, large sections of the moving plates can be thrust upward or folded. These upward-thrust or folded masses of the crust aren’t minor ridges or tiny ripples in the earth’s surface. It took many millions of years, but it was the collision of those plates that built the system of mountain ranges called the American Cordillera that dominates western North America from Alaska to Mexico, branches of which include the Rockies, the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range.

This is the same process that formed the Appalachian Mountains and the Canadian Shield, many millions of years earlier than the North American Cordillera. Like the great mountains to the west, the Appalachians and the Canadian Shield were once towering peaks as high or even higher than the Rockies, but millions upon millions of years of erosion from rain, wind and the ice ages have worn them down to the relatively low mountains we see today.

From the moment America was born 200 million years ago to the present day, those two opposing forces have been competing with each other. As tectonic forces work to build mountains and volcanoes, the forces of erosion such as glaciers, wind and rain work to wear down what the tectonic forces are trying to build, each trying to put its own stamp on what America should look like. But it was that earthquake 200 million years ago and the movement of those continent-sized plates that wrote the first pages in the story of America.

An Ancient Gift for a Young Nation

As far back as 300 million years ago, in a geological period known as the Triassic, extensive swampy areas and a warm, moist climate fostered the growth of super-sized plants that spread across continent-sized regions. With the passage of time, great forests would rise and fall and rise again, laying down deep beds of dead vegetation that sank into the ancient swamps. High acid content in the water that covered the fallen plants, and the mud and silt washed into the swamps by storms or by tectonic events, buried the vegetation and cut off the oxygen. Slowly, the mixture of partly decayed vegetation turned to a peat. As the layers deepened, the weight and pressure on the peat increased. After millions of years, the pressure would change the peat into a soft coal called “lignite”. Often, heat from deep inside the earth, and the continuous buildup of additional layers of material on the surface would work together to compress the peat and lignite, causing both physical and chemical changes, which slowly turned the peat and lignite into bituminous or anthracite coal.

The same processes that transformed plant and sometimes animal matter into coal, also created stores of gas and petroleum. Over long ages, great stores of that dirty black rock packed with energy and vital chemical fuels would accumulate, so that millions of years in the future all that stored-up energy would be available to help a struggling young nation jump-start its economy, build its industrial strength and fuel America’s rise into a world power.

An End and a Beginning: The Last Days of the Dinosaurs

Down the long centuries and millennia and vast ages, North America continued its westward journey. On board the new continent and sailing slowly west with it, were the plants and animals of the late Triassic and early Jurassic periods.

As the eons passed, the creatures of the Jurassic evolved into the remarkable creatures of the Cretaceous, but perhaps the most important biological development during the Cretaceous was the emergence of the flowering plants, without which, many, if not most of our food crops would not exist. At about the same time flowering plants were evolving, many insects were also beginning to change and evolve. Ants, termites, butterflies, aphids, grasshoppers and wasps began to appear and among them, perhaps the most important insect of them all made its first appearance: the highly social bee, a development that was vital to the evolution of the flowering plants and, in the far distant future, American farms and orchards.

But it is the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous that are among the most well-known and beloved of all the life forms that ever evolved in earth’s long history. Their names alone evoke wonder: Tyrannosaurs Rex, at 40 feet long, one of the largest land-based carnivores that ever lived; Triceratops a plant eating dinosaur, thirty feet long and weighing up to 12 tons with its unmistakable three-horned head that took up almost a third of its body length; Ankylosaurus, about the size of a modern elephant, but covered with large plates of bony armor; Pteranodon, a flying reptile with a 20 foot wingspan, and countless other giants. They were amazing creatures and if nature hadn’t created them, no human imagination could have done so. Had these wonderful creatures lived to the present day, the United States of America, as we know it, could not exist because the human beings who created it almost certainly could not have evolved. Our primate ancestors, if they had evolved at all, would have been little more than dinosaur snacks.

Living almost unnoticeable among the dinosaurs were a number of much lesser creatures – the mammals. They were tiny animals compared to the dinosaurs. They gave birth to live young, but they were insignificant, furry little things and had the dinosaurs survived, it is highly unlikely that mammals, including humans, would have risen to dominant the world. Then, about 65 million years ago, in what amounts to a geological instant that not only made America, but the entire world, the dinosaurs disappeared.

The theory as to what drove the dinosaurs to extinction was first proposed by a famous Nobel Prize physicist and amateur paleontologist, Luis Alvarez. His son Walter, a geologist, had been studying a strange layer of clay at the boundary between the Cretaceous and the Tertiary periods, also known as the K-T boundary, the layer that seemed to mark the moment in geological time when the dinosaurs went extinct. Paleontologists noticed that no dinosaur fossil has ever been found above that boundary.

Luis and Walter enlisted the aid of nuclear chemists Frank Asaro and Helen Michel from the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. The chemists discovered that the strange clay contained an extremely high level of a substance known as iridium, a mineral that is rare on the earth, but present in the countless micrometeorites that arrive from space and dust the planet’s surface. Eventually, they also determined that the same clay from other locations around the world contained the same high iridium levels. There could only be one explanation: that iridium did not originate on earth. It came from outer space!

In 1980, Luis and Walter Alvarez, and the two chemists published the paper proposing that the Cretaceous extinction was caused by an extraterrestrial impact. It was greeted with skepticism at first, but is now the most widely accepted explanation of what killed off the dinosaurs.

Although there is controversy as to whether or not a single event caused the extinction of as much as three quarters of the life on earth, most paleontologists agree that an extraterrestrial impact played a key role in their demise. A number also suggest that dinosaurs were already in trouble from disease, and from a series of volcanic eruptions called the Indian Deccan Trap that occurred at roughly the same time. Whether it was that singular deathblow from space or a final volcanic nail in the Cretaceous coffin, there is little question that 65 million years ago a mountain-sized asteroid smashed into the earth near what is now the town of Chicxulub on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

The asteroid impact is believed to have set off widespread, major earthquakes, horrific storms, world wide volcanic eruptions and forest fires that sent ash and dust high into the atmosphere where it blocked the sun’s light for years, perhaps for centuries. The devastation plunged the entire world into what today would be described as “nuclear winter”. As the effects of that catastrophic collision erupted across the globe, those awe-inspiring creatures that would someday be loved by children everywhere, began to die. The irony is that had their beloved dinosaurs survived, it is almost certain that none of those children would have ever been born.

That anything was left alive anywhere was a miracle. As it was, the impact and its aftermath is believed to have wiped out up to seventy-five percent of all species on earth. Fortunately for humans, one class of animals that managed to survive was the one to which we humans belong: the mammals.

As time passed, the planet slowly recovered. Mammals began to thrive and to fill the niche left by the dinosaurs. They have since spread to nearly every environment on the planet. Had the asteroid not wiped out the dinosaurs, it is very likely that mammals would have been unable to compete with their oversized, hungry neighbors and we humans might never have evolved.  Without humans there would be no America. Unlikely as it may seem, a big chunk of rock from outer space helped make America.

Ages of Ice

If the view of our planet from space 200 million years ago was far different than it is today, the Earth as seen from space 12,000 years ago was just as surprising. Although North America would have been recognizable, its appearance would have been shocking. Stretching from the Arctic across all of what is now Canada and into the United States, lay a vast sheet of ice, as much as 4 kilometers thick, and as far south as 45 degrees north latitude. Scientists call this ice sheet the “Wisconsin Glaciation”. It was only the latest of several such periods that stretch back possibly as far as 2.4 billion years ago.

What causes them is open to speculation, but variations in the distance of the Earth from the sun, solar energy output, ocean current circulation, composition of the atmosphere are all candidates. What does seem clear is that at some point, one or more of those possibilities works to push the planet over some crucial threshold and at that moment, an ice age becomes inevitable.

When it arrived, the ice sheet didn’t just sit there. It began to move. Like a giant bulldozer, it was working, ripping away soil and topsoil from what would one day be Canada, depositing all that fertile soil onto what would later be the United States. Enormous amounts of valuable Canadian topsoil, rock and gravel rode with the ice sheets as they moved. Some of the richest farmland in the United States Midwest and Northeast arrived in this way. Windstorms helped move tremendous amounts of this soil far from where the glacier left it, to settle out of the sky as a layer of fertile soil in the Mississippi and Missouri valleys, Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The ice changed America. The Great Lakes were carved by ice gouging its way through existing valleys, carving them even deeper. Across most of the northern part of the continent, the glaciers gouged out depressions that filled with water as the glaciers melted. Many river systems were reshaped or created including the Mississippi River that formed when the water from the melting ice sheet collected in what is now Wisconsin and Minnesota, then carved its way to the Gulf of Mexico. And on the border between the Province of Ontario in Canada and the State of New York, the water from the melting ice ran into a 700 square mile limestone formation called the Niagara Escarpment and created Niagara Falls. The countless lakes in northern Canada can be attributed almost entirely to the action of the ice. And as the ice retreated, the land, once weighted down by the ice, rebounded and continues to reshape the Great Lakes and other areas formerly lying under the weight of the ice.

Highly significant in the making of America was the fact that from about 12,000 to 17,000 years ago, a land corridor linked Eurasia to Alaska across what is now the Bering Strait. During the last ice age, water from the oceans locked up in the ice sheets, helped lower the global sea level by about 100 meters, allowing land-bridges between land masses such as the one across the Bering Strait, thus providing an access route into North America for animals and for people. America was now open and ready for human occupation.

First Americans

According to archeologists, the first Americans arrived on the continent between 12,000 and 50,000 years ago. The figures represent a significant range, but both estimates are possibly correct in that the migration to the American continent probably went on, intermittently, for millennia. There is also controversy about the route some early Americans used. A few historians have suggested that stone age Europeans crossed the Atlantic by skirting the ice sheets during the last ice age, living off fish, seals and sea birds, or that Southeast Asians crossed the Pacific to get here, which means that America ten thousand years ago was almost as much of a “melting pot” as it is today. However, where they came from originally doesn’t change what those first pioneers contributed to the making of America.

The most likely route for the migrations was via the land bridge across the Bering Strait. There is no way of knowing why these Asian pilgrims made the move. Were there legends about a vast land to the east that inspired the more adventurous among them? Were there conflicts, famines or natural crises that spurred them to leave their homes and head east to an unknown destination? Or were they merely doing what nomadic peoples have always done: following the animals that were their food supply?

Did they have any inkling of the fact that they had arrived on an immense, rich, new continent, virtually empty of fellow humans? Perhaps none of these things mattered. It’s just as likely that the driving force was the compulsion that seems to be built into our human genetic code: the uncontrollable desire to see what lies over the next hill, beyond the next mountain. Whatever the reasons were that drove them to this continent, some long ago day, one of our human ancestors took a step out of Asia and became the first human being to set foot on the North American continent, thereby making that moment one of those that profoundly helped make America.

By the time Europeans arrived, the people they mistakenly called “Indians” occupied every region on the continent from tropical rainforests to the Arctic, and they thrived there.

Those earliest pioneers earned the epithet savage, largely because they weren’t Christian. Ironically, the name savage was given to them by people who, for centuries, had happily butchered countless thousands of their neighbors because they couldn’t agree on how religion should be practiced or how their deity should be worshipped.

The first census in the United States was conducted in 1790 and included only 12 states. America counted white men, women, and children, slaves, cattle and billiard tables, but makes little mention of Native Americans. Any population estimates prior to that date are even more suspect. Though the population figures are highly controversial, America was not an empty land when those first Europeans arrived. The Native American population estimates range from a low of about two million to more than twenty million. Sometimes those figures go even higher. Whatever the population was when Columbus made his first voyage, by the time European diseases, conflict with white Americans, internal conflict and ill treatment exemplified by the Indian Removal Act of 1830 had taken their toll, the Native American population had plummeted. The question as to the size of the population prior to the arrival of Columbus points to a more fundamental question: was the influx of Europeans in America a great advance in the history of civilization or was it a catastrophe? There is no good answer. One can only hope that the end result makes up, in some small way, for what it took to get there.

Despite the tribulations they suffered, the presence in America of those first Americans has added enormous depth to the nation’s history, culture, mindset, traditions and heritage. Without them, the nation we know today would be unrecognizable.

A Matter of Timing

Vital to the making of America was the timing of those early European arrivals. The Iroquois League, later the Iroquois Confederacy, was a union of five powerful Native American tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca tribes. Their territory extended across what is today Ontario, Quebec, and upper New York state. In 1722 the Tuscarora joined the Confederacy making it a union of Six Nations that still exists today. Their name for themselves was “Haudenosaunee”, People of the Long House. The name “Iroquois” was given to them by the French who had been settling in many of the regions occupied by the Haudenosaunee.

A number of archeologist and anthropologists place the date of the league’s formation in the middle of the 1500’s, but some research hints at a much earlier date, even as far back as the middle of the 12th century. Although many historians credit the formation of the League as a response to the growing presence of Europeans, it is more likely that what really inspired the league was the desire on the part of the Iroquois to control and dominate the entire eastern region of the continent. Eventually, they managed to reach as far south as Kentucky and as far west as the Mississippi. More than one historian has described the Iroquois as an expansionist society, determined to unite tribes across much of North America. Those tribes they couldn’t persuade peacefully, they persuaded by force.

The Iroquois were a people bent on nationhood. Not nationhood in European terms, but nationhood in terms of power. Had Europeans arrived 100 years later, it is doubtful that the newcomers would have been strong enough to control the Iroquois Confederacy and their allies. A century later, Iroquois power might have extended as far South as Florida. With that extra century to develop their imperialist goals, Europeans might have been greeted by a large, politically sophisticated, united and powerful Iroquois nation connected with what might have been an overwhelming number of allies, making European encroachment and settlement in large regions of America impossible. Had even a portion of the Native American population been able to unite against the European invasion, American history would have been very different.

The only thing that stopped their expansionist agenda was the untimely arrival of Europeans, which created a new set of problems for all indigenous peoples. It should be noted, however, that it wasn’t superiority of European weapons, though that helped, nor was it European tactics and it certainly wasn’t superior intellect that devastated the native population. It was the diseases carried by Europeans, diseases from which the earliest Americans had little or no immunity. Smallpox, influenza, typhoid fever, even measles wiped out many thousand, possibly millions. Some estimates place the death toll from European diseases at 90 percent. Without a sufficiently large and organized force to oppose them, Europeans were able to establish those first crucial footholds and for better or for worse made America what it is today.

Contributions of the First Americans

The contribution of the original Americans to the world and especially to the making of America is profound. Indian guides made the exploration of America easier. Ancient Indian trails, often marked the routes used by white pioneers as they journeyed west. Eventually, these trails became roads and railroads. Indian villages, at the invitation of their occupants, were often used as trading posts, and some have grown into cities such as Albany, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago.

The fact that the powerful Iroquois allied themselves with the English during the Seven Years War between England and France was decisive to the English victory in the struggle for supremacy in North America. The North American portion of this multi nation struggle was called the “French and Indian War”.

What we now call “American English” has adopted hundreds of Indian words and phrases making the American version of the language more colorful and uniquely American. Words such as canoe, caribou, chipmunk, mackinaw, maize, moccasin, moose, Klondike, opossum, powwow, toboggan, tomahawk, totem, wampum, wigwam, woodchuck, all entered the American English directly from various Indian languages. The word tobacco comes from the Caribbean. It is from an Arawak Indian word that essentially means “a roll of leaves”.

Countless North American place names are Native American in origin. From “Alaska”, (an Aleut word “alaxsxaq” – the place where the sea goes) to “Wyoming”, (“xwé:wamənk,” at the big river”) the names of more than half of the States are derived from Native American words or phrases. A favorite is the unchanged “Mississippi” – the great water or big river. New York State alone has more than a hundred place names taken directly from Native American languages. An exact tally of all place names of Native American origin in the United States is nearly impossible, but their existence has added wonderful poetry and color to American geography.

According to estimates from a variety of sources, more than half of the agricultural production of the United States comes from plants or animals domesticated by Native Americans. A short list includes corn, a dozen or more varieties of beans, cranberries, pumpkins and squash, maple syrup, potatoes, turkeys, peanuts, tomatoes and tobacco.

Native American art, music, games and sports, ideas about conservation and agriculture permeates American culture, even sign language, which was a system of hand signals used to assist trade and communicate between different tribal groups and later with traders and trappers, was developed by Native Americans. The same type of system is used today for communicating with the deaf. The very concept of government as practiced in the United States, in which certain powers are held by a central government, and all other powers reserved to the states, was borrowed from the system of government employed by the Iroquois League. In 1988 the United States Congress passed a resolution to recognize the influence of the Iroquois League upon the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Without these First Americans and their enormous contributions, the United States would be an unrecognizable and faded shadow of the nation it is today.

About the Author

Geoff Armstrong began his teaching career in 1965 after receiving a teaching diploma from McGill University’s Macdonald College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montreal’s Concordia University in 1967 where his major field of study was history. Armstrong credits writers such as Bruce Catton, and Thomas B. Costain, as well as the encouragement of his father who had little formal education, but a deep love of reading and of history, as the inspiration for his own life-long interest.

Throughout a 25-year teaching career he taught history at several grade levels and learned quickly that to reach the hearts of his students, history had to be made immediately and deeply relevant and accessible: that some event that took place centuries before those students were born had a direct and profound influence on every aspect their lives. He also learned that talking down or writing down to his students was a recipe for defeat. It is this awareness, shaped by a quarter century of teaching and countless questions by thousands of intelligent young people that has informed and shaped his writing.

His latest book is Moments That Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo.

You can visit his website at www.MomentsThatMadeAmerica.com.

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